Klout: Ensuring Your Social Influence Is Actually What You Intended

With the huge push for business and professionals to become influential thought leaders over their specific area of expertise, the amount of energy put into creating a strong social media presence can take some dedication.

Are you being as effective as you hope to be? Are your messages gaining traction? Are you socially influential in the area you want to be?

All these questions are important to ensuring your hard work and dedication to social media outreach is bringing in new business and creating meaningful social conversation. An excellent tool to help aid in this pursuit for social media validation is Klout.

Founded in 2008, Klout helps to empower everyone to reach their target social influence. In fact, according to their website, “Klout began with a very simple idea: Everyone has influence—the ability to drive action… We come to work every day inspired to help people understand the power of their voices and democratize influence.”

A few months back, Klout underwent a significant facelift in terms of how a users’ ‘Klout Score’ was calculated. With the new update, Klout looks at 400+ social signals from seven (and growing) different networks that is processed daily to produce the Klout Score.

How Klout Works

Klout allows users to connect all of their social media accounts to be entered into the Klout algorithm and measured. These networks include: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Foursquare, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Blogger, WordPress.com, Last.fm, and Flickr. Social platforms coming soon include: Quora, Yelp, Posterous, livefyre, Disqus, Bit.ly, and BranchOut.

By incorporating whichever social networks you are active on, Klout is then able to look at each account and assign a score based on the topics and discussions you’ve posted that have generated the most interactions (likes, replies, comments, etc.).

Who is on Klout

The interesting thing about Klout is that users don’t really interact on the site. Instead, users define influencers (other social users who influence their content). Currently on Klout users include everyone from POTUS Barack Obama to every day social media junkies. Regardless of who your target audience is, odds are they are using Klout to calculate their social influence.

How to Create Influence

This is where using Klout gets interesting. Let’s just assume that you’re in the inbound marketing and lead generation space. Obviously, a lot of the content you’re putting out through your various social networks will be targeted around that content and the type of followers and subscribers you attract will also be interesting in that content. At least, that’s the idea. Well, Klout pulls your social media posts from all the accounts that you have connected and ranks them based on how many people commented, shared or liked that update. The more engagement means a higher score and greater influence.

When you think about it, it makes sense. How influential you are is truly a reflection of people finding your content engaging enough to comment or share it. Rather than shouting self-promotion into the social realm, you’re instead providing content meant to create online social interaction.

Best Practices to Increase Targeted Influence

Perhaps the easiest way to encourage social engagement is to ask questions. This invites engagement. And people love stating their opinions about topics they care about. That being said, make sure that the questions you are asking are around topics your social connections are knowledgeable about. If you’re asking questions that pertain to normally tweet about and used to gain your social influence, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Other best practices to increasing the engagement of your followers are polls and commentary on articles people you follow have provided in their social interactions.

The worst thing you can do on social media is to use it as a channel to spew out self-promotion. That is the equivalent of standing in a crowded room and shouting over the other conversations going on in the room. Nobody likes it and eventually people tune you out or kick you out of the room by unsubscribing to your social feeds.

Nothing kills your social influence more than providing information that nobody but yourself cares about.

Take Your Social Influence to the Bank

If you’re one of the few that have successfully creating an engaged audience and are now a social thought leader in your industry, congratulations. Not everybody understands the true power available from social media.

Now that you’ve gathered this army of followers, you can start to leverage your connections to increase your business and continue to be a reliable source of useful and engaging content that people care about and react to.

What are some of your best practices to creating a social influence? Have you seen any business success from investing time in social media? Let us know about it in the comment box, below.

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